This week's reading list: Amazing Spider-Man: Swing Shift (Director's Cut)
Well, I actually had to buy this at the shop this week, hence the on-time post. I'm a little irked that I spent $4 on something I got for free last May, but it has some minor updated dialogue, so that's worth it, right?
The story itself is basically the same as last year, and it was dissected and vivisected ad nauseum last year. My basic review went something like this:
- Spidey is cracking-wise and using both web-shooters and Spider-tracers. That's good.
- Spidey doesn't seem to have a problem wrecking a cop car, ramming another car (on a bridge), or helping to cause some serious car accidents. That's bad.
- Overdrive is a new villain. Mr. Negative is a new villain. Neither one of them makes me want to vomit yet. That's good.
- If Jackpot isn't Mary Jane, then it's the biggest (and most annoying) red-herring in a long time. (BTW, to answer the poll from the SMB last May: Yes, I would hit the Jackpot.)
- Phil Jimenez, who is one of my favorite artists, cannot draw Spider-Man. The eyes are wrong, the anatomy looks twisted and gross, and half the time Spidey has a vertical webline going down over his mouth. That's all bad.
Much of what Brevoort says here is a repeat of my own introduction to the Spider-Man: For Better or For Worse series. "Spider-Man is about Peter Parker. Spider-Man is supposed to be funny. Spider-Man makes mistakes. Spider-Man needs a good supporting cast. We've been killing or ruining the supporting cast for YEARS. Mystery villains are fun." Some of what he says is just plain wrong, IMO: "Spider-Man 2 gets it right." Um, no. Spider-Man 2 should have been sub-titled: The World Shits On Peter Parker. There were many things to like in Spider-Man 2, but there were many things to disagree with, as well. What kills me about Brevoort's whole thing is that the vast majority of what he says needs to be changed with Spidey has nothing to do with the marriage. AAAAH!
(However, I do find his take on Betty Brant--that she and Peter should be very good friends and she should be setting him up with chicks--interesting. That seems to largely come out of nowhere. I know Betty has been around in some capacity or another for many years, but I don't remember her and Peter EVER being particularly close.)
The Spidey-Bible is the same way. Other than Mary Jane being gone, what about this new SQ couldn't have happened with the marriage intact? With Norman back from the dead, we certainly didn't need Mephisto to get Harry back. The good things about the new SQ don't require the marriage, and the bat-guano-crazy parts that suck are because of the "cosmic reset."
On the bright side, the new villain Menace appears to be a Goblin of some kind, so there's that. I'd still rather see Roderick Kingsley show up, but at least he's in Amazing Spider-Girl.
So, ultimately, what does this prove? That Marvel has been sitting on top of this crappy set-up for a long, long time and was still unable to come up with something better. That they were aware of many of the real problems with Spidey, but felt that somehow they needed to do a big long event to change them instead of just changing them. Figure it out, Marvel: You don't need a mini-series, a devil, or a world-wide-mindwipe to introduce more supporting characters or to bring back the web-shooters! When something like that sucks, you just change it!
I'm glad they could identify some of the problems, but it fills me with dread that their solution sucks as much as it does. It's pretty clear that, this week, at least, the real Spider-Man, the one who isn't frozen in time as an immature "young 25-year-old", is still Missing In Action.